NEW ORLEANS - As the sun reached higher points in New Orleans Sunday morning, the number of NFL football fans seen walking the streets increased.
The rush of purple and burgundy at hot spots in the French Quarter and surrounding areas was small in comparison to what was witnessed Saturday night as fans for the Ravens and 49ers walked shoulder-to-shoulder and stood in line at restaurants, bars and attractions. Lines at crosswalks resembled those of theme parks.
It was a different breed of fan witnessed Sunday morning – fans that served as a reminder that some of the greatest moments in what is arguably America's greatest sport were only hours away.
The Ravens' Fan Man was out and about in New Orleans early Sunday morning. His message was simple as he attempted to establish dominance over superfans from San Francisco. In fact, his message was printed on a meme that he held high above his head as he stood in the sunroof of a Hummer that cruised the downtown area.
"I don't always retire. But when I do, I go to the Super Bowl first," the meme in honor of Ray Lewis read.
At midmorning Sunday, the line at the Ruby Slipper Café, one of New Orleans' top breakfast spots, looked a little different than the average busy day. NFL football fans dressed in burgundy, gold, purple and black occupied every seat of the location on Magazine Street.
Servers at the restaurant could be overheard speaking about who had come through the doors at different times – players, celebrities, journalists.
We wanted an interview, but the restaurant's manager/owner had no time as he rearranged tables, juggled chairs and cleaned kitchen-to-table mishaps. Our server, who seemed equally as busy, said Friday brought Ravens fans ; Saturday brought 49ers fans and Sunday brought a good mix.
By noon, the heat was on. It was 63 degrees, and the number of fans out and about had visibly doubled. You could hear chants, yells and heckling from the street through hotel windows.
It was official. The countdown to Super Bowl 47 between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers had begun.